9. Canadian Property Law

Land Use Regulation

Land use regulation in Canada is primarily done at the provincial or municipal level, with each province and municipality having its own set of regulations. Land use regulations are generally designed to ensure that land is used in an appropriate and sustainable manner, while also protecting the interests of the local communities. These regulations can cover a range of topics, from zoning and building codes to environmental protection and conservation. Additionally, the federal government can enact land use regulations in certain cases, such as for national parks or for specific areas of interest.

A nuisance is a condition or situation, such as a loud noise or foul odor, that interferes with the use or enjoyment of property. Courts balance the utility of the act that is causing the problem against the harm done to neighboring property owners. For example, restrictions exist on when manufacturing plants may operate so as not to interfere with sleeping patterns of neighbors.

Nuisance can be both intentional and unintentional, as well as public or private. A public nuisance is an unreasonable interference with a right common to the general public, such as a condition dangerous to the public’s health or a restriction on the public’s access to public property. Many jurisdictions also include conduct that is offensive to the community’s moral standard to regulate the placement of adult industries in residential neighborhoods. Public nuisance claims often include noise, smoke and smells issuing from manufacturing or other business activities. A private nuisance is a condition that interferes with a person’s enjoyment of their property that does not involve a trespass. For example, cigarette smoke entering a neighbor’s house from a smoker on an adjacent property is a private nuisance.

Most provinces have passed laws that allow local governments to regulate zoning. Zoning ordinances are laws passed by counties, cities, and municipalities that regulate land development including whether commercial or residential buildings can be built in an area, how tall buildings may be, and how much green space must be maintained. They also apply to existing buildings and regulate whether a building may be converted from residential property to commercial and the form of the commercial activity. For example, many zoning ordinances regulate the types of businesses that may be located next to schools and hospitals.


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Business Law and Ethics Canadian Edition Copyright © 2023 by Craig Ervine is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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